Major League Soccer Suspends Season For 30 Days Amid Coronavirus Threat

Major League Soccer, the U.S. pro soccer league that has just kicked off its 25th season, said Thursday it is postponing its season for 30 days effective immediately, the latest move in the sports world attempting to confront the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as the NBA postponed its season Wednesday evening after the illness was confirmed in two Utah Jazz players.

On Tuesday, the MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes postponed its March 21 home game against Sporting Kansas City, the second game to be halted due to COVID-19 concerns. It joined the list of scrapped games that included the Seattle Sounders’ home match with FC Dallas on the same day.

The Seattle region has been the hardest hit with the virus, with 234 cases and 26 of the nation’s 29 deaths coming in the city’s King County. In the Bay Area, the Golden State Warriors will be the first NBA team to play without fans tonight, in a game against Brooklyn Nets at San Francisco’s Chase Center. The city and county of San Francisco has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people as the crisis grows.

“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said this morning. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”

Sports leagues and events worldwide are increasingly facing pressure to address the coronavirus threat. In Italy, all sports have been suspended due to the outbreak. In the U.S., the NCAA’s major men’s basketball tournament announced Wednesday it would play games in empty arenas save for family and essential personnel.

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